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TunnelBear Review

written by

Jack Foster

last updated

June 17, 2021

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Features

4.5/5

Speed & Performance

3.7/5

Ease of Use

4.3/5

Mobile App

4.3/5

Customer Support

4.5/5

Pricing

3.8/5
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TunnelBear Pros:

TunnelBear Cons:

TunnelBear is a Canadian VPN provider that offers a both a totally free VPN service and two paid options. The free version has a cap of 500MB, however you can increase this monthly bandwidth limit by tweeting about them (or investing in their paid solution).

Overview

TunnelBear was founded in Toronto in 2011 by Ryan Dochuk (Corporate Bear) and Daniel Kaldor (Quantum Bear). The duo has a tonne of experience in the tech industry with some impressive time served at Microsoft, and  Goldman Sachs. TunnelBear offers VPN services targeted at those who are completely new to VPNs.

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Your Privacy is Respected with TunnelBear

You can browse the internet safely with TunnelBear (even on free public wifi). They don’t log any of your data, IP addresses, or any other queries that you might carry out while surfing the web. People are becoming more aware of how companies harvest and sell your data in the modern tech era. For this reason, finding a VPN that offers a strict no log policy is a great bonus, and extremely important to many users.

The only thing I would add here is that Canada is not really the best location to have a VPN due to the fact that the owners do have to abide by Canadian law’s, which means that they are obliged to hand over any personal information that they hold on you if asked by authorities.

Sure, they don’t log your activity, but they will have some personal information on file that they must share when asked. I guess it just depends on how serious you are about your anonymity.

Fun and User-Friendly

The UX design that TunnelBear has created for their website and apps are very clean, uncluttered and user-friendly. The minimalist design is reflected throughout their products.

However, in the back end, they use some powerful kit to ensure leak-free data transfer. This is something that is highly recommended when choosing a VPN. TunnelBear offers the robust industry standard AES-256 bit encryption and uses the OpenVPN protocol.

TunnelBear has some really fun elements that keep the whole tech process light-hearted and straightforward. They don’t have a lot of options to confuse you and they use a bear as their emblem – they even go so far as to name their team after bears.

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TunnelBear Customer Support

TunnelBear offers customer support via their ticketing system, unfortunately, they don’t offer live chat at present. However, their ticketing system is relatively quick (they normally answer within a few hours, not the 2 days they state on their form). Their staff are friendly and use some cute bear puns to keep the experience light hearted

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Free Plan Good Enough for Streaming

The free subscription play offered by TunnelBear is good enough to stream with Kodi – however, the bandwidth is limited to 500MB per month. Meaning you will need to upgrade if you want to use their service for more than simple testing and evaluating their service.

You can use the TunnelBear VPN on multiple devices on any client (Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS) via their handy apps and browser extensions. The only thing is you cannot unblock Netflix and the servers can often be a little slow for heavy streaming.

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NordVPN Customer Support

As a customer, I wanted to test NordVPN’s customer support. Were their technical team able to help me with my queries? Let’s find out below.

When connecting to NordVPN’s live chat, you are first introduced to a chatbot. This is designed to identify whether or not you really need a live agent.

The connection time to a live agent was literally minutes. I didn’t have to wait long at all which was great news!

I asked the assistant if she could tell me more about Netflix support and how I would connect to a different location.

Although the agent was helpful in terms of providing me the correct information, I would have preferred a personal touch rather than sending me away with a link.

Other than that, there were no complaints on my behalf and I’d certainly recommend NordVPN’s customer support.

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Industry-Standard Security

Although TunnelBear is cheap and they even have a free version, they are still extremely safe and secure. They use OpenVPN, which is currently thought to offer the best protocol for VPNs and is recommended by many experts. They have recently upgraded their iOS software to IPSec/IKEv2 which is very secure.

TunnelBear uses 256-bit AES protection – this is the government or military-grade encryption used for very sensitive data transfer. So you know that you are protected with their high-end practices and protocols. Whatsmore, TunnelBear ensures that you connect safely to their server by using the Diffie-Hellman key exchange.

When you connect or disconnect to their VPN TunnelBear uses a feature that they call “VigilantBear” which ensures that you disconnect or connect optimally to prevent any leaks or access. VigilantBear works a lot like a kill switch – stopping your data being accessible when entering or exiting the VPN.

TunnelBear Features

TunnelBear has a plethora of cool features like VigilantBear (the TunnelBear kill switch). You can use their service with 5 devices, which should be just about enough for the average user to connect to a VPN with all of their devices. Another neat feature (with a dope name) is the GhostBear feature offered by TunnelBear. This feature works to cloak the fact that you are using a VPN.

Due to the extra programming load, the GhostBear feature can significantly slow down your connection. Therefore, use that feature sparingly. All of the more advanced features offered by TunnelBear are hidden or automatic to keep their user interface clean and simple.

Great For Beginners

If you are new to the whole VPN concept, then TunnelBear could be a great option for you. They keep everything really clean, simple and straightforward. It is super easy to get started with their free VPN. Simple enough for a complete beginner to wrap their heads around the whole VPN landscape – TunnelBear does a great job of only presenting what you need.  You will only see the following 3 pieces of information (without drilling down to their more advanced features).

  • Your location
  • Your tunnel
  • Your IP

Both their apps and browser extensions are really easy to use and navigate.  Basically, a one-click solution that sits in the background and doesn’t get in your way.



Externally Audited

TunnelBear went the extra mile to prove their security measures are up to par. Rather than simply stating the facts about their service, they got an independent auditing body to review their whole system.

This is a bold move for a VPN and comes in response to allegations that VPNs are not always entirely honest about the services they offer. In August 2017 TunnelBear proudly announced:

TunnelBear has completed the consumer VPN industry’s first 3rd party, public security audit.

You can read the results here

P2P, TOR & Torrenting

Recently TunnelBear has added P2P and torrenting to their list of services. Additionally, you can use TOR with their services to further anonymize your activity.

TunnelBear Teams

If you are looking for a simple, easy to use VPN for your business/ team, then TunnelBear Teams could be your best solution. Their simple one-click apps secure your wifi network. Keeping with the ethos of the company, setting up teams with TunnelBear is simple. There is one centralized billing management solution, and an easy $69 per team member annual fee.

You can easily cut and paste your team members email address’ to invite them to TunnelBear inside the app. Should you get stuck then TunnelBear has their “support bears” on hand should you need technical assistance. Their team solution provides unlimited data, 5 devices per person and priority customer support.

TunnelBear Subscription Plans & Pricing

TunnelBear provides a completely free package (capped at 500MB per month) and for this reason, they don’t offer any money back guarantee. Their pricing is standard for an unlimited plan as follows:

  • 1-month package – $9.99 per month
  • 12-month package – $4.99 per month

Teams can be set up for free with a 7-day free trial. Then after that point, they are charged at:

  • $69 per team member – Annually

All in All

TunnelBear is a really great entry level VPN. They offer user friendly and minimalistic tools to secure your internet with ease. You can use tunnel bear for P2P, TOR, Kodi ad Torrenting, however it doesn’t currently work with Netflix. If you are looking for a free, quick and easy way to block sites. Or perhaps you want unlimited secure browsing experience then TunnelBear is a great place to start. For something more comprehensive, consider NordVPN or ExpressVPN.

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